Easy health tips from our favorite Registered Dietitian!

We chatted with Danielle Cahalan, our favorite Registered Dietitian in Chicago and asked all about what our bodies need, what they don't need and tips for a healthier lifestyle.


1. When you start working with patients, what are the recurrent struggles you notice?


When I start working with patients, I see many barriers standing in the way between them and their goals. Some ongoing challenges include not believing in themselves or low self-confidence, lack of readiness to change or commit to making actionable steps to instill change, and falling back on excuses when they arise. It can also be overwhelming for patients to shop for healthy foods on a budget these days, or decipher healthier packaged foods from sneaky, hidden ingredients that are health-stealing rather than health-promoting. This is where I come in! As a dietitian, I am trained on motivational interviewing to help my patients increase self-motivation, positive self-talk, achieve their goals, and how to choose healthier, fun snacks like Nemi Snacks.



2. What's the main reason patients want to work with you?


I would rather the patients speak for themselves, but when I do ask my patients upon initial contact what they want to get out of working together, the general consensus revolves around learning how to eat for their condition or goal and to be healthier overall.



3. One in three adults do not get their regular protein intake, the typical American consumes 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day and 95% of Americans don't get enough fiber. Why is it so important to find foods or snacks that provide protein, fiber and low sugar?


I love this question and speak to these 3 areas of nutrition often. The purpose and function of protein in our diet is vast, but the main elements I highlight include protein aiding in satiety (keeping us full longer), promoting muscle growth for greater lean body mass that supports a healthy metabolism, and protein supporting our gut health and immune system. Fiber is also underrated for its role in keeping us satiated and as the MVP of gut health. The average American consumes roughly 10-15g of fiber daily, but women need 25-30g/day and men need 30-38g/day. Fiber is always a topic of discussion with each of my patients and something I stress for nearly every person and their condition. Lastly, added sugars can cause glycation (scraping) in the blood vessels, ultimately causing damage and putting you on a blood sugar roller coaster that is difficult to get off of once it starts. Instead of riding that ride, I suggest limiting added and simple sugars in the diet (<10g of added sugars per serving) and to focus more on complex carbohydrates for energy. Nemi Snacks hits this trifecta of protein, fiber, and low sugar!



4. I imagine that many of your patients are busy and need easy recipes and on-the-go options to keep them feeling good during their busy days. What do you usually recommend?


About 50% of my patients do not want to cook after a long day at work. Despite this, you can still include the 3 components of a balanced plate: non-starchy vegetables, protein and a complex carbohydrate. The top meal I recommend is frozen veggies, a microwaveable serving of brown rice, and rotisserie chicken you can pull apart all week. This is budget-friendly, convenient, and still balanced! If you are a vegan or vegetarian, simply swap the chicken for tofu, tempeh, or beans. I also love a fun theme night- like tacos! These are super easy to whip up, with high fiber tortillas, veggies of your choosing to microwave or stir fry (peppers and onions are great), low-sodium taco seasoning, and a protein of your choice. Add some Nemi Snacks with guac or salsa to spice things up too!



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